First National Bank of South Miami (FNBSM) is pleased to announce with great pride and pleasure that Executive Vice President, Veronica B. Flores and Board Member, Robert Berrin of First National Bank of South Miami presented the Health Information Project (HIP) with a $10,000 donation. In attendance to receive the donation was HIP’s Executive Director and Founder, Risa Berrin along with HIP’s Director of Operations, Valerie Berrin. Also in attendance were the following student peer counselors who shared their insights and experiences: Jaime Tirado, President, 12th Grade; Brooke Hatten, Vice President, 12th Grade; Monika Coll, Secretary 12th Grade; Vanessa Bennedit, 11th Grade; Robert Rivera, 11th Grade.
The student peer counselors spoke about how the program works. They explained how they are educated about HIP when they are in 9th grade by their older 11th and 12th grade peers, and about how they pass it on as they go to 11th and 12th grade to the new 9th graders. The students spoke about how they have been taught and in-turn teach students on how to connect to health resources within and outside their school. They expressed how they prefer the HIP program because they would rather have their peers share their experiences and knowledge on such things as drugs and sexuality than to have an adult deliver this information. The student peer counselors spoke about how their peers do not tell them what to do, but that they simply provide information such as what their consequences might be if they do make certain choices. They also spoke about how it’s easier for them to approach one of their peers instead of an adult and how HIP helps educate their peers who in-turn can give appropriate advice.
Mrs. Flores asked them about their best success stories from in being involved in this program. They all basically agreed that HIP has improved their public speaking skills. Most felt the program provided them the opportunity to assist others and give back to the community. They also spoke about the gratification they feel when they see a change among the student body, a unity of sorts – a free environment. They also mentioned how they became educated about giving back to the community and how important it is.
As the Bank’s Chairman, Mr. Bruce Wirtz MacArthur stated, “We at FNBSM very much appreciate HIP’s purpose to educate our community’s teenagers about their health issues and to encourage and assist them in accessing existing community health resources and are proud and grateful for the significant service and guidance this organization is providing to our community.”
Mrs. Flores noted, “We are especially excited about sponsoring the program at South Miami Senior High School. Not only because I am a proud alumni of the school, more importantly because to support HIP and their mission for the young adults in our community. This is a very important service that has been lacking in our schools; providing important health information that will guide these young people to make educated decisions about important life choices. I especially enjoyed spending time with the peer advisors when they joined us for a very informative session on the achievements and contributions of HIP.”
To learn more about this organization, please visit them at their website at www.behip.org
First National Bank of South Miami enjoys great stability as an independent community bank at the same location and under the same ownership since 1952, offering the latest technology coupled with unparalleled service.